Book review, gifted education, literacy, loveozya, Teacher tips and resources

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

If you had one wish what would it be?

Esme Silver lost her mother 7 years ago and has just witnessed her father remarry a women she doesn’t like at all. She is not only upset at her father for remarrying but also upset that he wants to move on when she can’t. Her mother went missing 7 years ago for no apparent reason and it is this unknowing that draws Esme to a small cottage she has been told to avoid for the last 7 years after her father and his new wife depart on their honeymoon.

Not only does Esme discover more about her mother, she also discovered another world – and this world has many more links to her mother than she would like to think.

When Esme steps into this other world, she makes many true and good friends in the city of Esperance who help her to find out what has happened to her mother. She shows determination, clever thinking and a strong will as she journeys through a city which constantly surprises her with it’s twists and turns around every corner.

Esme’s wish is a marvellous story and a definite page turner. It is full of magic and wonder,imagination and marvel, creativity and friendship. Not only does Esme travel Esperance to find her mother, she travels through it to also save the city from certain destruction.

Esme’s wish by Elizabeth Foster is a book for readers aged 11 and up and perhaps one that may have a sequel….who knows? Perhaps I will have to ask Elizabeth Foster herself…..

So what else can you do with this book?

– Draw a map of Esperance and surrounding islands after you have read the book

– Make a list of the different gifts people can have. How do people have gifts in our world? Are they as revered as they are in this story? Are all gifts equal in this world and our own?

– What is a pearl made out of? Why are they precious? Can you find any stories throughout history related to pearls?

– As you read list the metaphors and similes and other types of figurative language. This book is rich in this type of language and a great way to study how you can add more to your writing.

There are so many more wonderful activities to do with this book – it’s a great book to share or read as a group!

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Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya

Our school library

Our  library is a place to mingle with different types of books and pick up new books that you may never have thought you liked.


Our library has a Non-Fiction section focus each week – a chance for children to learn about new topics and the books available. 

Our  library is a place to sit still and listen to books being read out loud.

Our library is a place to share book reviews, try out books and ‘shop’ for free.

Our  library is a place to be creative, learn about how a library works and see how author’s think.

Our library is a place where all children can access books at their level and their interest.

Our  library is a portal to different worlds, different times and different people who might just resonate with you and inspire you to take yourself on a different path in life.

Our library books can be accessed online from any student login or accessed any day of the week at school.

 

What do you like about your school library?

animals, Creativity, gifted education, literacy, loveozya, My creations, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

The lengths some bears go to

Bollo had had enough.

Every book he read was boring.

His friends told him to try picture books.

BORING!

His little boy told him to try books based on facts

BORING!

His grandma suggested he try audio books

OH HIS EARS!

But that was until he was accidentally locked in the library.

The lights went out, the door clicked shut and the place went quiet.

Bollo looked around but there was no one in sight, no one that is until the books started watching him.

One by one he noticed aliens googling their eyes at him, monsters waving their furry hands and a Mopoke hooting at him.

He crept closer to each book and noticed the shimmer on some covers, the sparkle on the pages and the magic smell.

He hesitantly moved his hand over shelves of picture books, rows of audio books and reams of graphic novels.

He heard stories rumble from within books on low shelves, fact reciting from books on high shelves and constant mumbling from magazines on the back shelf.

With a dash of colour here and there, Bollo found books that were beyond boring. He found books that would transport him to another time, books that would teach him things he never knew possible and books that would give him ideas on how he could change the world.

And so when the lights came back on and a friendly hand picked him up, Bollo thought  that  just perhaps, books were not so boring.

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Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Why read graphic novels?

Last month I was lucky enough to review a copy of Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin.

After I read it I remembered how wonderful comics are and how accessible they make reading and big issues for reluctant readers.


So why should you encourage your young reader to borrow graphic novels from the library?

  1. Graphic novels are full of text and the text is just always about reading left to right. The reader needs to look at the page to work out where to read next – it could be vertical columns, horizontal or even a one page spread.
  2. Graphic novels can cover big issues in a more meaningful and easier to understand way that stories that just have text.
  3. Graphic novels are fast paced and great for children who don’t want to sit down for a long time. They are often action packed and full of movement.
  4. Graphic novels vary just as much as novels so don’t just try one – there are many more genre’s of graphic novels coming out and many more for girls too.
Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya, Teacher tips and resources

Snap review: Within these walls by Robyn Bavati

Whatever is coming, we’ll face it together, as a family.

As long as we’re together, we’ll be okay.


I’ve read a few books about the Holocaust – both fiction and non-fiction and I’ve visited the Holocaust museum in Sydney.

But this book written by Robyn Bavati opened up so many more terrible emotions as we see the unfolding events through the eyes of a young girl named Miri.

Bavati has created this work of fiction based on many different stories she gathered from interviews with survivors – so even though the final book and it’s characters are fictional, the stories are not, and these stories are heartbreaking.

Robyn Bavati is an excellent storyteller on an issue that is so emotional. There are moments of joy, kindness and strength but overall you will be left wondering how this ever happened and perhaps how this still happens today.

A book for children 11 and older but one to debrief on after and perhaps look further into the Holocaust and why it all happened.

 

Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

The value of reading

I recently read an article that highlighted the value of reading. 


New research has shown that not only does reading impact on all learning areas it also impacts our cognitive abilities, social and cultural functioning. Reading ignites imagination, allows us to explore ourselves through other characters and sharpens our skills of critiquing.

With so many things to read these days we need to bring ourselves back to books. Back to reading material that has been honestly published , edited and proofread. Parent’s need to read with their children and continue to encourage them to pick up books that they will enjoy.

With many fake news items and celebrity news swamping our screens the humble book is the best place to lean back on. Reading doesn’t need to be relaxing as such – it can cause sadness, a rush of adrenaline or an inspiration of ideas. But overall, reading helps you to understand beyond your own life existence.

Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Beyond the first shelf….

You may not think of yourself as a creative writer or an avid reader but we need to encourage our children to be just that.

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Deep inside the library there are many books that have not been discovered and perhaps there is one hidden away on the bookshelf that will waken up your thirst for reading and ignite your imagination and creativity.

So rather than judging a book by it’s cover or the latest book review, read the first few pages for yourself. Allow yourself to sit for five minutes and meet the characters and explore the new land. If it doesn’t hook you in then try another – there will always be one waiting for you somewhere!

Every day libraries have many new books that arrive – a story about the battle between scissors, paper and rock, a tale of the germs who live on your teeth and your shirt, a story about women who have made a difference in the world and a story about a boy who has a friendly robot. There is non-fiction, fiction and picture books. There are comics, wordless stories and books that open up to three metres in length.

Don’t forget about the library. Borrowing books allows you to share your stories with the whole community.

Book review, Junior Fiction, loveozya

The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Wow. I’ve literally just finished this book and I’m blown away by this action packed, adrenaline pumping and hair raising crime thriller- The Fall by Tristan Bancks. 


As a librarian I try to read as many books as I can but this one, as soon as it arrived, I couldn’t put it down. 

The main character, Sam- a want to be crime reporter is visiting his Dad, Harry Garner (a real crime reporter).

 But in the middle of the night Sam hears raised voices and witnesses a body fall from the apartment above his. His father is missing and Sam, using his amateur detective skills is determined to find out who killed this man as soon as he can. 

Enlisting the help of his Dad’s dog, Magic and his neighbour, Scarlet, he finds out more than he bargained for and lands himself in more trouble than he thought. 

The Fall is a gripping story that not only is an amazing read but it teaches the reader many tips about being yourself, believing in yourself and living life with open eyes, open ears and an open heart. 

I loved the Ten Commandments of life that Sam creates on reflection of the dramatic events that happened that fateful evening. 

They are something that all young readers should aim to live by. 

Can’t wait for some more great suspense raising reads by Tristan Bancks. 

loveozya

The Dream Walker by Victoria Carless – Young Adult Fiction

As soon as I started this novel i couldn’t put it down. This story stirred so many emotions – it brought tears to my eyes, made my stomach flutter with the memories of young love, I felt anger at the town bullies and joy at the beautiful friendships.

The Dream Walker by Victoria Carless is a story about a young girl living in a small Australian coastal town where most people rely on fishing as their income. As in many small towns rumours abound, opportunities dry up and the young people want to leave.


Our strong, fierce and brave character – Lucy – is dealing with the very raw death of her mother, the departure of a close friend and the discovery that she can walk into other people’s dreams.

Dream walker will bring your imagination to life and make you wonder about dreams and how powerful they can be.

A powerful story that delves into issues of suicide, alcoholism, bullying, grief and violence is a must read for any young adult who is pondering where they are in their lives, the harm secrets can bring to us and the importance of friendship and family.

The Dream Walker by Victoria Carless is one of those books that will stay with you long after you have finished. A must read!

Angela May George, Books with current issues, loveozya, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, refugees

Refugee week 2017

This week is Refugee week ( 18th June – 24th June) and there is no better way to bring about awareness about this terrible issue than through a book.

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Refugees are a real, current and terrible problem that we have in our world and possibly one that will get worse if war continues, water rises in low lying islands of the world and famine ravages nations.

We need to help educate our children so that they feel empathy towards these people who just seek safety in a new land where they too can live a peaceful and happy life.

However – many of these picture books and Young adult fiction are confronting so tread with care as you read. Be prepared to talk about what happens in the story so your child feels hope  that something can be done to help the future.

Here are a few great books that I have come across:

Out by Angela May George

Out

Out by Angela May George (Published by Scholastic Australia)  is a sad yet heartwarming story about a young refugee girl who has settled in a new country with her mother.
This beautiful story follows how the girls feels in her new home and the fears she still faces because of what she has been through.

Flight by Nadia Wheatley

Flight is a confronting story about a young family fleeing from their home in search of refuge.

Flight

Drawn in shades of black and brown the images add to the feelings of unknown these travelers must be experiencing. It is dark and fearful but throughout the pages we see hope.
The story begins like that of the Christian Christmas story – a small family leaving there home town in search of safety: following the stars and riding on a donkey,  but as we read along we discover this is a small Muslim family who are escaping their war torn home.
This book is one that needs to be read to older children with reflection and questioning.

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Rhonojoy Ghosh 
I'm Australian Too

Throughout the story we hear about families from Ireland, Italy, China and Syria. We meet the ancestors of  the first people of Australia and also the refugees who are still waiting to be a part of Australia.
Mem Fox celebrates the diversity of Australia and the friendliness of the community through children’s eyes. Rhyme is used along with the thought provoking repetitive question:

Book reviews to come

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillion
The Bone Sparrow

Home and Away by John Marsden
Home and Away (Lothian Australian Favourites)

And some books I would love to review when I have the time!

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Refugees by David Miller

Four feet two sandals

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Great resources from the Refugee week page are available from this link

 Lonely Planet

Oxfam Shop